Turkey Invades Northern Syria and Attacks U.S.-Backed Kurdish Rebels

Posted Aug. 31, 2016

MP3 Interview with Michael Beer, director of the group Nonviolence International, conducted by Scott Harris


After a series of terrorist bomb attacks targeting police and civilians inside Turkey– and a failed coup attempt against his government, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan ordered his nation’s military to invade northern Syria with the stated goal of guaranteeing his “citizens' security at home and in neighboring countries." The offensive, which began on Aug. 24th, saw Turkish tanks, artillery and Syrian rebel allies – backed by air power – quickly capture the Syrian border town of Jarablus from Islamic State militants.

But since that initial assault, Turkish forces have moved into areas controlled by fighters allied with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, SDF, a coalition that includes the Kurdish YPG militia that has won praise from the Obama administration for its’ effectiveness in battling ISIS. Clashes between Turkish-backed forces and the YPG have killed at least 25 Kurdish fighters, amid accusations that Turkey has targeted Kurdish civilians in air strikes, which Ankara denies. Washington has criticized Turkey’s attack on the Kurds and is working to stop the fighting between its two allies.

While Turkey favors the overthrow of the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad and opposes ISIS, President Erdogan’s priority is widely believed to be preventing the establishment of a Kurdish enclave either in Syria or inside Turkey. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Michael Beer, director of the group Nonviolence International, who talks about the escalation of violence in Syria after the Turkish invasion and prospects for success in U.S.-Russian cease fire talks taking place in Geneva.

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